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Prescott Wins Bid for Court Review of Phone-Hacking Probe

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott won a legal bid to have a London court examine whether the initial police investigation into phone hacking at News Corp.’s News of the World newspaper was adequate.

A court in London will allow him, and three others, to seek a judicial review. Prescott, along with lawmaker Chris Bryant, former Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick and journalist Brendan Montague are seeking a declaration that the investigation was “seriously inadequate.”

Metropolitan Police in January opened a third probe into allegations of phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper after receiving “significant new information” from its U.K. parent, News International. More than 20 celebrities, athletes and politicians are suing over allegations their mobile phones messages were accessed for stories.

Justice David Foskett ruled that the case was “arguable” and should be considered by another judge. He said he wanted to ensure that the police’s preparation for the case doesn’t “impede or otherwise adversely affect the ongoing police investigation.”

Judicial review is a legal mechanism that examines the decision-making process of public bodies. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police declined to comment. Hayley Barlow, a spokeswoman for News of the World, also declined to comment.

The paper’s former royal reporter, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 for accessing mobile phone voicemail boxes of members of the royal household. Mulcaire’s notebook, which was seized by police, contains evidence that he might have hacked into other celebrities phones.

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